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Stierle Dedicates His 1988 Work ‘Lacrymosa’ to Joffrey’s Memory

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Edward Stierle, 22, is not only one of the Joffrey Ballet’s youngest dancers. He’s its youngest choreographer, too.

His 1988 ballet, “Lacrymosa,” had its Los Angeles premiere last Sunday, with more performances scheduled for Thursday and May 25 and the company’s final spring program May 27. Stierle danced the premiere and will appear closing night.

With “Lacrymosa” dedicated to the memory of Robert Joffrey, how does Stierle feel about the resignation of company co-founder/artistic director Gerald Arpino and the ensemble’s turmoil? “I will say just one thing,” he replies. “The Joffrey Ballet will not function without its heart. Just as you can’t replace Mr. Joffrey, you’ll never be able to replace Mr. Arpino.”

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Set to excerpts from Mozart’s “Requiem,” Stierle’s 25-minute ballet, he says, “came about because I felt that young people these days are being confronted with issues concerning death, the loss of loved ones and friends, at an age when life is just beginning. It seems to be happening in the arts world, in the dance world, more than anywhere else. I wanted to bring some light and hope to my peers.”

Dancing, though, is Stierle’s first passion: He began at 5 in his native Hollywood, Fla., when his dance teacher-sister recruited him to help fill her class quota. He won the junior men’s division Gold Medal in the International Ballet Competition in June, 1986, and so impressed Robert Joffrey that by July, he had made his debut with the famed ensemble.

Stierle may now see his name included on company programs with those of Balanchine, Robbins and Nijinsky, but, he says, “I refuse to put myself in that category. I don’t consider myself a choreographer yet--that’s a craft that takes years to develop. I consider myself a dancer who’s being creative. In 10 years, if I’m still creating and crafting, then I’ll call myself a choreographer.”


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